I have been following the Irish referendum on marriage equality closely, given its historical significance.
Ireland has now become the first nation in the world to legalise marriage equality by a popular national vote. And as far as referendums go it was a landslide. Unlike many other nations that took the legislative path to achieve marriage equality, in Ireland the wording of its Constitution prevented Parliament from passing the necessary legislation without a constitutional amendment. The Irish people have now removed that impediment.
The resounding success of the Irish referendum is a social revolution in this traditionally conservative nation, with a historically strong devotion to the Catholic Church and its teachings.
Admittedly, in recent years the grip of the Catholic Church on Ireland has weakened and its moral authority largely collapsed following the shocking revelations by The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.
The success of the Irish referendum leaves Australia the only major English-speaking country in the world without marriage equality, considering that even in the US marriage equality is now legal in 36 States. The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to rule on the constitutionality of marriage equality by the end of June this year.
Unfortunately, in Australia our staunchly Catholic Prime Minister and his conservative government continues to deny LGBTI Australians the same human courtesy and equality.
While majority popular support also exists in Australia for marriage equality, our political class is paralysed on the issue. Australia’s Constitution already gives the government the power to legislate for marriage equality as noted by the High Court of Australia, therefore a referendum in Australia is not the answer.
All that’s required in Australia is political leadership. So, don’t hold your breath.